Legacy Project For Saint-Laurent Gets Great Response
By Anna Guy
Citizens of Saint-Laurent, on the island of Montreal, may now avail themselves of a progressive new sports centre. The 16,223-square-metre sports complex which has an indoor soccer field, a 25-metre swimming pool with an access ramp, a gradual depth recreational pool, a single-size gymnasium, a gymnastics palestra, a multi-purpose room as well as an additional training room of the most modern recreational and leisure facility, exercises the senses as well. Tall, angular, and a Gold LEED Certification building, the centre is, in a word, unique.
“It would have been too easy to build a shoebox,” says Saint-Laurent Mayor, Alan DeSousa. “But as a critical part of our efforts to make sure our community has access to not only sports and recreation activities, but all the activities they need to be healthy and thus happy, we wanted the building to be exciting.”
These priorities are shared by the governments of Canada and Québec, who both recognize the importance of recreational infrastructures for promoting a healthy lifestyle, an ideal community.
The project benefited from joint financial assistance of over $23.3 million from the governments of Canada and Québec, within the Large Urban Centres component of the Building Canada Fund-Québec. The project is also benefiting from the support of the Green Municipal Fund of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities as well as from the support of Ville de Montréal, for a total investment of $55 million.
The community of Saint-Laurent has been growing at unprecedented rate, with 30,000 new residents welcomed in the past 15 years—many of which are young families. This has prompted a branding strategy from the city with a healthy lifestyle at the nucleus.
“Building the centre is an investment in our youth and our young families, and one that allows all members of our community to enjoy such facilities,” adds DeSousa. “The Complexe sportif de Saint-Laurent represents a healthy lifestyle for all our citizens, of all ages.”
The complex garnered attention even during construction. On opening day, public interest was so high, over 4,000 men women and children toured the centre. Former Montreal Alouettes player Matthieu Proulx and Olympic medalist, Josée Bélanger were also present on the inaugural day, running drills and welcoming the public.
“There was a large degree of curiosity in the community,” says DeSousa. “People have seen this being built brick-by-brick, and by nature of the design and shape and colours and materials chosen, it was a conversation piece. On opening day, we had an open house with record participation, who got the chance to not just meet sports stars, but also to visit the facilities, discover what is there, and sign up for the upcoming season. It was a huge success.”
An ecological, distinctive
The quality of the architectural gesture is undeniable, and must be seen to be believed. “Inspired by the tectonic forces, the sculptural approach of the Complexe sportif de Saint-Laurent proposes two geological objects whose movement is enhanced by the human activity on the site,” states main designer Gilles Saucier.
The building design was selected following an architecture competition won by the team of Saucier + Perrotte Architectes – Hughes Condon Marler Architects | SNC Lavalin inc., organized by the Borough in cooperation with Ville de Montréal’s Bureau du design. The concept of the winning team stood out from the other proposals for its interesting design, respect for the surface areas of the facilities, the efficiency and effectiveness of the sustainable development strategies and its potential for growth. In May, the building was in fact certified LEED Gold.
“The unique design, materials, and the large amount of natural light that comes into the building links so nicely with the outside park,” add DeSousa. “It’s a highly performing building and one which will leave a great legacy for future generations.”